Procrastination, ie, the Muse’s Enemy

I have been attempting to write my next novella – the final in my series of four Regency Romances – for over a week now. My total word count? Less than 500 words. And yet this was the novella which most excited me, the synopsis that I loved more than any other when I first wrote it. What’s gone wrong?

Well, if you ask me, the Muse has left me. I know it sounds a little strange for a modern twenty first century author to be talking about a mythological character from ancient times, but I truly believe that there are some times when I can write really well . . . and other times when everything I try to describe comes out stilted, each piece of dialogue sounds false, and I just can’t seem to put any feeling into my writing.

That is when I say that the Muse has left me.

I’m always conflicted when this happens, because there are two main schools of thought when it comes to the Muse: firstly, that you should immediately abandon writing and wait around for the Muse to descend once more; secondly, that you should doggedly keep at it like a twelfth century monk forced to complete his manuscript.

Neither camp works for me. It’s all very well to put aside your writing at times when you need a new perspective, or some extra research to be done, but that only works in a world without deadlines, promises to publishers, and the simple fact that sometimes if I put a work in progress down, I am unlikely to pick it up again.

On the other hand, to force oneself to write when the writing simply isn’t very good seems rather pointless. I’m just going to have to edit it and delete it down anyway, and I may find that I only have a couple of hundreds words of value from the thousands that were written.

And so I end up here: procrastinating with jobs that I tell myself are just as important as my writing – if not more so – and therefore there is no point in trying to finish my creative piece.

And so days go by, and not another word gets added to the manuscript.

What is the solution? Well, I’m hoping that once I’ve got through my procrastination list, I’ll suddenly have a brainwave about my novella. Poor Leo Tyndale and Hestia Royce. I hope someone rescues them if I can’t.

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